The LA Chargers are 1-1 thus far in the 2021 season with two interesting games under their belt. The Bolts defeated the Washington Football Team, 20-16, on the road but fell to the Dallas Cowboys, 20-17, at home in Week 2.
On the surface, it may seem as if the LA Chargers have a problem on the offensive side of the ball as they have only scored 37 points in two games. It is made worse by the fact that the New York Giants scored 29 against Washington and that Tampa Bay scored 31 against Dallas.
Some are even calling out the play-calling of new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. The chief complaint among disgruntled fans is that the Bolts are not taking any deep shots. With Justin Herbert's cannon and the release of Tyron Johnson, it is easy to see why some fans would be upset.
However, when you really dive into it, it is quite clear.
The LA Chargers do not have a play-calling problem.
As far as the points are concerned, the LA Chargers could have scored more points in both games with a few small changes. There was the horrible fumble call in Week 1 that would have resulted in at least three points and then there was the ridiculous penalty that took six points off the board in Week 2.
With Tristan Vizcaino's missed field goal the Chargers could have scored another seven points at least in Week 2. The team has simply been inefficient in the red zone and it really has just been some bad luck.
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How often does Keenan Allen slip in the endonze? This kind of bad luck typically comes back around and if it doesn't then it can be indicative of the play-calling. However, it is way too soon to draw that correlation after just two games.
The big-play narrative is just far-fetched. Herbert's intended average air yards is 7.9 yards per attempt. That might seem low and it definitely is in the lower half of the league but it is still higher than it was last season (7.5)!
Heck, Herbert completed a beautiful deep pass to Keenan Allen near the sideline in the game against the Cowboys. This is exactly the kind of big play that some fans are complaining is not happening enough.
The fact of the matter is that fans are remembering there being more huge plays than there actually were. This is a common thing: the huge plays stick out in a fan's memory more than the nine-yard slant routes. It might seem like the Chargers had a lot of huge plays last year but it was likely less than you remember.
The LA Chargers had four 50-yard+ touchdown passes in 2020, all of which happened in games four through six. There was not a single passing touchdown that went for more than 50 yards after Week 7.
Overall, the Chargers had eight passes go for over 50 yards. The team still has 15 games to reach that number and Herbert's pass to Allen in Week 2 went 42 yards. Herbert had two passes in Week 2 alone go for more than 30 yards.
I get that the big plays are exciting and that is what fans want to see but the offense has been humming up until it gets to the red zone. Everyone was literally just raving about how special it was when the team put away Washington with a six-minute drive and now there is a play-calling problem?
It is way to soon to say that there is a play-calling problem in Los Angeles, especially considering the play-calling has been pretty good. Be patient. There is no such thing as a perfect football team.